Can Exercise Reduce Methamphetamine Use?

methamphetamine useThe abuse of methamphetamine remains a significant public health problem in the United States.[1] In fact, in California, 27 percent of substance abuse treatment admissions are for amphetamines.1 The same goes for many other states, including Idaho (25 percent), Nevada (25 percent), Arizona (18 percent), Oregon (16 percent), and Washington (14 percent).1 There are also legal implications, as 36 percent of the people arrested in San Diego, CA, and 23 percent of men arrested in Portland, OR have methamphetamine in their system upon arrest.1 Furthermore, a 2009 study by the RAND Corporation has estimated the total US cost for methamphetamine at $23.4 billion.1

Researchers from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have recently found that physical exercise may be a useful technique to reduce methamphetamine use.1 Drs. Shawn M. Aarde and Michael A. Taffe used an animal model in which raters were trained to press a lever to obtain intravenous infusions of methamphetamine.1

Previous work had shown that an extended interval of six weeks of voluntary activity on a running wheel reduced cocaine self-administration in rats.1 Researchers now state that the running wheel access in only the 22 hours prior to the test session is actually sufficient to significantly reduce the amount of methamphetamine the rats self-administered.1 Therefore, six weeks may not be required to produce a beneficial effect on drug use.1 It can have an effect much sooner.

This study has important implications for using exercise as an added therapy for human methamphetamine addiction treatment, as an extended period of continual physical activity may not be required, as effects may instead be seen immediately with shorter-term exercise.1 An additional study also found that rats’ self-administration of the drugs ecstasy or Molly is also decreased in animals who have access to a wheel in their home cages.1

[1] Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB). (2014, April 27). Can exercise help reduce methamphetamine use?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 8, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/04/140427185155.htm

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